In response to the recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposal to rescind recently adopted regulations protecting conscience rights in health care, Virginia Catholic Conference Executive Director Jeff Caruso submitted the following comments to HHS on March 17 on behalf of the Commonwealth's Catholic Bishops:  

"On behalf of Virginia's Catholic bishops and their two dioceses, I write to convey strong opposition to any efforts to rescind or weaken the current regulation protecting conscience rights in health care. 

Please retain the conscience regulation, and enforce current laws protecting the right of health care providers to serve patients without violating their moral and religious convictions. The right of conscience protected by existing federal laws is inviolable. Weakening protection for this right will harm the ethical integrity of our healing professions, drive caring people out of these professions, and reduce patients' access to much-needed basic health care.  

Virginia's two Catholic dioceses include many institutions, programs, and individual members that participate in providing health care to the poorest and most vulnerable in our Commonwealth. They are committed to serving and healing life at every stage of development. This commitment is integral to their faith and should be honored by their government."  

The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment has created an Action Alert explaining why the regulations should be retained and providing directions on how to submit your own comments to HHS.

If you have not already done so, please submit your comments before the April 9 deadline!  

In addition, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up a special site with resources on conscience protection, including videos and a link to the NCHLA Action Center message.

Let's join forces and get all of our Churches to print these links in their bulletins and post them on their Web pages.